One of the finest labels in techno history, Metroplex, is having a proper knees up in London to celebrate its 25th birthday next month with superclub Fabric boasting a special room one line-up to tempt fans down to the venue.
On Sunday, October 9th, Eddie ‘Flashin’ Fowlkes, Anthony ‘SHAKE’ Shakir and Keith Tucker (Aux 88) will perform alongside the creative force behind the Metroplex legacy himself, Juan Atkins. As Cybotron, and later under the Model 500 guise, Atkins birthed a genre, exposing his native Detroit – a place often considered to be the poster child for a decaying post-industrial America – to a new musical identity. One that was made up of relentless machine rhythms; as Atkins ably fused man with machine, stripping the music right back to the basics of sound and light as he did it.
Sparking the emerging European rave culture – along with productions from his former schoolmates Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson – with his classics such as Cybotron’s “Clear” and “No UFOs” under the Model 500 moniker, Atkin’s projects are still widely regarded as the cornerstones of Detroit techno, bearing his recognisable sense of melody and rhythmic affluence perfectly. His concept for his music was a simplistic one; ‘techno’ came from the harmony between a human and his tools. And for 25 years solid, Metroplex has kept Detroit techno fans fancing to an exciting beat.
Having already celebrated their anniversary with 60,000 music fans at Detroit’s annual music festival, Movement, back in May, Atkins isn’t just making the journey across the water for this London date, he’s bringing with him two of the most important cogs the mechanism of Detroit techno: Eddie ‘Flashin’ Fowlkes and Anthony ‘Shake’ Shakir. Eddie ‘Flashin Fowlkes developed his own twist on the mechanistic sound, pouring different, more pronounced melodic soulful house elements into the raw mix, creating his own microcosm that he branded ‘techno-soul.’ His 1986 production for Metroplex, “Goodbye Kiss”, was an instant classic throughout the then blossoming community and he’s gone on to release over 150 tracks on labels like Tresor, Logic and Creation as well as his own Detroit Wax imprint.
“This year is the 25th anniversary of Metroplex Records. So that’s technically the 25th anniversary of techno.” – Carl Craig
As a producer and A&R, Shake had a vital role in the development of Metroplex – from engineering early tracks to working alongside Derrick May and Carl Craig. As one of the more underrecognised players in the genesis of the Motor City Sound ‘Shake’ has experienced something of a rebirth with a selection of his best work over the last 15 years being collated and re-released on the ‘Fritctionalism’ compilation on the Dutch label, Rush Hour. Working alongside Shake on the Puzzlebox Records project – a great outlet for no-bones Detroit electro techno – is Keith Tucker. One half of the Aux 88 duo he’s considered instrumental to the sound on the streets of Detroit and is one of the city’s major innovators. Prolific and militantly inventive he completes what’s already not just an exemplary line up, but an education in techno.
This is set to be a special night at Fabric because, as Carl Craig said: “This year is the 25th anniversary of Metroplex Records. So that’s technically the 25th anniversary of techno.” Craig himself will be gracing the decks in Room Two while Surgeon, fresh off mixing one of the best Fabric CDs of late, will join him alongside Kirk Degiogio. Room Three will see Motor City Drum Ensemble and Terry Francis spin the tunes.
For more information and tickets, go to www.fabriclondon.com.
Saturday, October 9th
Room one: Metroplex 25
Juan Atkins, Eddie ‘Flashin’ Fowlkes, Shake (live), Keith Tucker (Aux 88)
Craig Richards, Surgeon, Kirk Degiorgio,
Motor City Drum Ensemble, Terry Francis
Tickets: £18/10 (Students/fabricfirst Members); £8 for all from 4am, £5 from 5am.